Insomnia-Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Many people all over the world suffer from the sleep disorder called insomnia. Insomnia is difficulty falling and staying asleep. Insomnia ranges from lacking in sleep both quantity wise as well as quality wise. It can affect any age group and it increases with age. People who are affected more by insomnia are-

  • Women suffer more from insomnia than men.

  • People who have stress disorders and symptoms.

  • People from lower income group are more prone to it.

  • People who are chronic alcoholics.

  • People with mental health issues.

Symptoms of insomnia

People suffering from insomnia find it difficult to fall asleep, often wakes up in the middle of the night or in early morning hours and are unable to go back to sleep. They don’t feel fresh in the morning and might feel tired and sleepy throughout the day. They find it difficult to focus and concentrate. They feel both physically and mentally unwell and suffer from anxiety, irritability or mood swings.

Types of insomnia

Insomnia can be of three types depending on the duration it lasts. The three categories are as follows-

  • Transient- When symptoms last for at least 3 nights it is called transient insomnia.

  • Acute- Short-term or acute insomnia is that where the symptoms might last for several weeks.

  • Chronic – When insomnia lasts for months or even years it is called chronic insomnia. Most of the times chronic insomnia is a side effect of some other health issue or medication or other substances which are taken by people like alcohol.

Causes of Insomnia

There are many causes which lead to insomnia. It might be a primary problem or might be associated with other health issues. Following are some of the major causes-

  • Excessive stress- When you are constantly worrying about finances, health, work or family your mind is unable to relax which makes falling asleep difficult.

  • Changing work routine or travel- Your changing work schedule as well as traveling between different time zones disrupts your sleeping and waking cycle.

  • Medical issues- There are many medical problems like sleep apnea, breathing problems, chronic pain, acidity etc which makes sleeping difficult.

  • Poor habits- Intake of nicotine or caffeine in the late evening, screen time before bed, daytime napping, too much eating in the late evening and irregular bedtime routine all cause insomnia.

  • Mental health problems- Mental health issues like anxiety and depression also lead to disruptive sleep.

  • Use of medications- intake of certain drugs and medication might cause insomnia too.

Diagnosis and treatment of insomnia

Your sleep history, medical history, and a physical examination might be required to diagnose insomnia. In some of the cases, even test at sleep centers is also referred. As far as the treatment is concerned acute or mild insomnia can be treated by following good sleeping habits. Your doctor might prescribe sleeping pills for a short period of time. For chronic insomnia treatment of the underlying cause is done first. Even behavioral therapy is suggested if required. Insomnia treatment is among the most effective ones and people suffering from this disease can surely try for it.

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